- Online associate degree programs in radiologic technology allow students to obtain the education requirements to work as radiologic technologists.
- These distance-based programs offer flexible schedules but require students to meet in-person requirements, such as clinical training.
- Radiologic technology graduates need to pass a certification exam before they can practice. This test is administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
- The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that radiologic technologists earned an average yearly salary of $60,510 in 2019(1).
Although many aspiring radiologic technologists choose to enroll in on-campus radiology programs, a growing number of institutions are beginning to offer accredited distance-based programs.
These schools let students achieve the necessary coursework online while accomplishing in-person training at approved medical facilities and imaging centers.
The online programs allow for a more flexible schedule, which can be particularly attractive to those with familial responsibilities, working professionals, or individuals living in rural areas.
Online associate degree programs in radiologic technology are usually available in hybrid formats. Students should expect courses to cover sectional anatomy, biology, medical terminology, and the mathematical equations needed in the industry.
While the courses are online, in-person requirements must still be met, typically involving hands-on clinical experience training.
Not all distance-based radiologic technologist programs have the same curricula. However, students can expect the following topics:
- Anatomy and radiographic positioning
- CT imaging
- Diagnostic imaging
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Imaging modalities
- Medical procedures for radiologic technologists
- Medical terminology
- Patient care
- Radiation biology
- Radiation physics
- Radiographic procedures
- Specialized and advanced imaging
A person completing a radiologic technology associate program becomes eligible to practice as a radiologic technologist.
Technologists in radiology are professionals who assist radiologists in obtaining diagnostic medical images for treating various conditions.
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) is the agency that provides graduates with the licensure necessary to begin their careers.
Also, radiologic technologists are required to undergo continuing education every two years to maintain their licenses.
It is crucial to ensure that the program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). JRCERT is the national organization that regulates these radiologic technology training programs.
Requirements for Online Radiologic Technologist Programs
The admission requirements for online radiologic technologist programs are quite similar to their on-campus counterparts.
Applicants are typically expected to provide the following:
- Accomplished application form and fee
- Official school transcripts with competitive grades in math and science
- Proof of completed prerequisite coursework
- TOEFL scores for non-native English speakers
- Documents of immunizations and health insurance
- A personal statement of at least 500 to 600 words
An associate’s degree in radiology is generally open to GED or high school graduates. Typically, institutions do not require students to have prior post-secondary education or work experience to apply.
Application requirements, such as the high school GPA, vary widely among institutions. Applicants should check for these details beforehand.
Completing prerequisite coursework in math, science, and English is often required in many programs to ensure that students are prepared.
Applicants sign up for their chosen program by submitting the required transcripts and supporting documents to the school.
Students may apply for the radiologic technology degree program after completing general education courses and the prerequisites.
Best Schools for Online Associate’s Degrees in Radiologic Technology
Here are some of the top schools for online associate’s degrees in radiologic technology:
|Georgia State University||$95 per credit hour(2)||Atlanta, GA|
|Ball State University||$339 per credit (residents) or $551 per credit (out-of-state)(3)||Muncie, IN|
|Southeast Community College||$102 per credit hour (residents) or $123 per credit hour (out-of-state)(4)||Milford, NE|
|Century College||$184.98 per credit(5)||White Bear Lake, MN|
|Indian Hills Community College||$185 per credit hour(6)||Ottumwa, IA|
|Minnesota State Community and Technical College||$198 per credit(7)||Fergus Falls, MN|
|The College of Health Care Professions||$22,000 (total average tuition)(8)||Houston, TX|
Georgia State University
Georgia State University offers an online Associate in Radiologic Technology degree to interested students. They can accomplish their coursework in one of two health science facilities, the Grady Health System School or the DeKalb Medical School.
Students of Georgia State University work with experts in the field and advanced technologies in radiology. Their curriculum involves studying X-rays for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.
Applicants must complete an application form to be considered for financial aid. Georgia State University offers need-based, service-based, and merit-based scholarships to its students.
Ball State University
Aspiring radiologic technologists can sign up for the Associate of Science in Radiography program at Ball State University. This online radiology program prepares students by providing them the knowledge and experience to become successful entry-level radiographers.
Besides being accredited by the JRCERT, graduates of the program can immediately apply for the national certification exam provided by the ARRT.
Students are required to be on-campus for the clinical phase, which takes place at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
Southeast Community College
The college’s radiologic technology program teaches students how to combine the fundamental scientific principles of taking radiographic images to assist in diagnosing and treating illnesses.
Applicants deciding to take their online course are allowed to do their clinical requirements at a pre-approved hospital.
Their radiologic science program introduces students to a curriculum focused on making them job-ready and ensuring that they can take on entry-level positions upon graduation.
Successful program completion also means that graduates are ready to take the ARRT exam and immediately apply for state licensure.
The radiologic technology program of Century College is designed to prepare students to become full-time radiologic technologists. Students work closely with radiology physicians and other allied health members while being instructed in basic patient care techniques and safety standards.
However, admission to the program requires a particular type of application and is highly competitive. Century College may not accept all applicants that meet the minimum admission requirements.
Indian Hills Community College
The school provides a two-year Associate of Applied Science program where students can learn how to perform X-ray (such as mammography) and computed tomography (CT) scans using advanced medical imaging equipment.
Students also learn proper patient positioning, patient care, and how to evaluate radiographic images.
Applicants should be aware that only the second year of this program is being offered in an online format.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Minnesota State’s 79-credit Associate of Applied Science in Radiologic Technology program prepares students for job placement as entry-level radiologic technologists. Applicants learn how to provide the diagnostic medical images needed by various medical facilities.
During the required clinical education and experiences, students are supervised by registered radiologic technologists. Completing the program allows graduates to be eligible for the ARRT national certification exam.
The topics that are most commonly covered include:
- Radiograph evaluation for appropriate image quality, position, and anatomy
- Patient care techniques
- Radiation safety standards
- Proper positioning
- Standards of ethical and professional behavior
The College of Health Care Professions
The college offers a 64-week Associate of Applied Science degree in radiologic technology. It provides a program designed to teach students the industry skills and knowledge to excel in their careers.
Graduates gain radiologic technology training that allows them to work in trauma and operating rooms to perform basic and advanced radiologic imaging procedures. When taken full-time, students may be able to finish the program in about a year.
Applicants must have a GED or high school diploma to be admitted by the College of Health Care Professions. Students should be able to speak, write, and read in the English language.
Steps to Become a Radiologic Technologist
A radiologic technologist’s job is to perform X-rays in physician’s offices and assist doctors in diagnosing a range of medical conditions.
Some of their primary responsibilities include preparing patients for the procedures, positioning them appropriately, and ensuring that they are not exposed to excess radiation.
Technologists must follow the best practices in handling radiation. They should also possess a set of skills that include having strong attention to detail, being physically fit, and knowing how to use complex radiography equipment.
Here are the steps to become a radiologic technologist:
Step 1: Earn an Associate’s Degree in Radiologic Technology
Although there are certificates available in radiologic technology, most professionals start by completing an associate’s degree in radiologic technology. The majority of these programs take at least two years to accomplish.
The program teaches students how to produce diagnostic images of the human body for diagnosing and treating diseases. Students are required to attend clinical practicums by the end of the program.
Step 2: Complete an Internship Program
Many radiologic technologist job applicants are required by employers to be experienced in using radiology equipment.
Although radiology degree programs usually provide clinical opportunities, students can benefit from acquiring hands-on training by pursuing internships at medical facilities.
Some radiology schools allow their students to obtain this type of experience through associated clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare settings. These opportunities enable undergraduates to work under the supervision of experienced technologists in allied health.
During internships, aspiring radiologic technologists need to develop their communication skills. The job entails working directly with patients who are suffering from health conditions.
Some patients may show signs of distress before an imaging procedure, requiring technologists to have the ability to calm their fears. Another essential skill for radiologic professionals is critical thinking.
Step 3: Obtain Radiologic Technology Licensure
Most states require radiologic technologists to pass a certification exam before they are allowed to practice. Although the education requirements for licensing vary by state, they usually include passing the state-administered certification exam or the test provided by the ARRT.
Associate’s Degree in Radiology Learning Goals
The following are the primary objectives that students should aim for when taking an associate’s degree in radiologic technology:
1. Learn How to Operate Radiographic Equipment
Knowing how to use radiologic technologies accurately and safely is of utmost importance in any radiologic technology degree program.
Students in associate’s degree programs need to learn how to use various types of imaging equipment. These technologies include digital imaging and X-ray machines to generate images that physicians can utilize to diagnose and treat health issues.
2. Provide Appropriate and Necessary Patient Care
A radiology technologist needs to ensure each patient’s safety from harmful radiation regardless of the equipment used.
Professionals must also see to it that patients are comfortable and informed about the procedures at all times.
Students are also taught how to position patients in a manner that can produce top-quality diagnostic images.
3. Obtain the Knowledge to Pass the ARRT Radiography Exam
Since ARRT certification is necessary to work as a radiologic technologist, students should ensure that they acquire the knowledge to pass the exam.
Students seeking this type of certification should check that an approved agency has accredited the program.
Career Options After an Online Associate’s Degree in Radiology
The ARRT provides a range of certifications, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), radiation therapy, and diagnostic medical sonography. Radiology technicians may obtain ARRT certification to become licensed MRI technologists.
To expand their career options, most entry-level radiologic technologists complete additional certification.
Based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), the median annual salary of MRI technologists was $73,410 in 2019(9). Radiologic technologists earn as much as $60,510 on average each year.
There is also the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s degree in radiology technology after completing an online associate program in radiology.
Having a bachelor’s degree is often the minimum requirement to specialize in areas like nuclear medicine technology. It also opens other career opportunities in a range of modalities.
Based on a report made by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), many rad techs are pursuing a bachelor’s degree(10).
The report also showed that degree holders of Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences tend to earn more than associate degree graduates.
Besides having expanded career paths, bachelor’s degree programs in radiologic technology also open up opportunities to advance to supervisory and managerial roles.
Many institutions allow professionals to take and complete an online bachelor’s degree program.
Aspiring radiologic technologists can acquire distance-based learning through various institutions. Online associate’s degree programs in radiology technology provide flexibility to people who wish to obtain the education requirements to work in this field.
Although the courses are online, students still need to meet in-person requirements that typically involve hands-on clinical training.
Successful completion of a JRCERT-accredited radiology technology program makes graduates eligible to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists‘ certification exam.
Passing the ARRT test is required before a radiologic technologist can be allowed to practice.
Some of the best schools for an online associate’s degree in radiologic technology are Georgia State University, Ball State University, and Southeast Community College.
A report by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics mentioned that MRI technologists earned as much as $73,410 on average in 2019, while radiologic technologists had a median yearly wage of $60,510.
Completing an associate’s degree in radiologic technology allows graduates to apply for a bachelor’s degree in the same field. A bachelor’s degree opens up more advanced pathways in the field of radiology.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Radiologic and MRI Technologists. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm
- Georgia State University. Retrieved from: https://perimeter.gsu.edu/
- Ball State University. Retrieved from: https://www.bsu.edu/
- Southeast Community College. Retrieved from: https://www.southeast.edu/
- Century College. Retrieved from: https://www.century.edu/
- Indian Hills Community College. Retrieved from: http://www.indianhills.edu/
- Minnesota State Community and Technical College. Retrieved from: https://www.minnesota.edu/
- The College of Health Care Professions. Retrieved from: https://www.chcp.edu/
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. op. cit.
- American Society of Radiologic Technologists. Radiologic Technologist Wage and Salary Survey 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.asrt.org/docs/default-source/research/radiologic-technologist-wage-and-salary-survey-2016.pdf